Google’s data-friendly app YouTube Go expands to over 130 countries, now supports higher quality videos

YouTube Go, a mobile version of YouTube built for emerging markets with features like offline viewing and nearby sharing, is today expanding to over 130 countries worldwide. This wider rollout will make YouTube Go available to a large number of people who want the ability to watch YouTube videos, even if they don’t have a good connection, or find themselves offline.

The list of new countries includes those in Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and elsewhere.

The app was first introduced in September 2016, before launching into beta last spring.

Like other apps designed for emerging markets, YouTube Go includes a suite of features that take in consideration the high costs of data, poor signal strength, and the prevalent use of SD cards on Android devices.

For starters, the app lets users control their playback experience by selecting lower quality streams when on slower connections, or they can opt to save videos for playback when they’re offline. This offline play feature allows users to download YouTube videos to their phone or an SD card. (You can also view a video preview before deciding to download.)

Another clever feature is YouTube Go’s sharing feature that allows you to show videos to friends nearby – another way YouTube Go works around devices’ that don’t have a reliable connection.

This feature first locates the friend’s phone using Bluetooth and BLE for discovery and establishing a connection, then uses Wi-Fi Hotspot (the feature on your phone) and Wi-Fi Direct for transfer. Explains YouTube, the app establishes a secure wireless channel between two phones using established wireless and encryption protocols. The receiver then downloads a unique decryption key from YouTube’s servers before the video can be played back in the YouTube app.

However, the company tell us it’s always experimenting with protocols and may choose to use different ones in the future to provide “the fastest, most reliable and secure connections to the broadest range of devices.”

In addition, the YouTube Go app’s home screen highlights videos in that are popular locally, and is presented in the users’ language.

YouTube Go’s first market was India, but its reach later expanded to 14 other countries last year, including Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand, and others.

With today’s launch, the company says it made a few design tweaks based on these early users’ feedback.

Now, YouTube Go allows users to choose the option to download, stream or share videos in High Quality, in addition to basic and standard quality, for those times when a strong signal is available – like when connected to a good Wi-Fi network, for example.

It also made the “share nearby” feature easier to access and added the ability for users to share multiple videos at once.

The app improved its personalized recommendations, too. Now, users can pull down on the home screen for new recommendations, and will be alerted when their favorite channels add new videos.

YouTube Go is available in the Google Play Store here.

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